Mooshy La La

Bringing Bohemian Glamour from Decadent Decades Past!

BIBALALA

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When I first left school in the early 70’s I worked for a small independent chain of Fashion Boutiques in Liverpool called “ZAX” We sold labels like Bernshaw, Radley, Aristos/Ariella, Miss Mouse…….just a few from the many I can recall! There were four shops dotted over the city, the main flagship store based in the city centre. I was the window dresser,and the youngest member of staff! I loved it!!!!  

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Me & my friend Sheila, I’m wearing a coveted yellow top covered in doves from ‘Silly Billy’ in Liverpool & I’m poured into coffee coloured satin ‘Loons’ from ‘Cape’ Liverpool!

Platform shoes had just hit the fashion scene and buyers were scrambling to get their hands on the highest most colourful shoes & boots, this was before the high street was awash with chain stores, and mass produced fast fashion like Primark, New look and the likes of today! Trends would sell out quickly & waiting lists would be long, & competition between the independents would be ferocious ….I remember once our black six inch heel, platform boots were delivered to a neighbouring competitor ….there was ‘warfare’ when they would not return our order!!!!!!  Hahahaha!!! “I do not jest!!!”

platform boots

The owners were young & fashionable and used to take me to London on regular buying trips. We would go on the Pullman, this was a luxury city link train, we would have breakfast (No less than silver service on this train!) and a very comfortable first class journey, ready for our hectic buying schedule!!!

And that is when I discovered…………….

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……..I thought I had died and gone to heaven the first time I walked through those doors in Kensington High Street……anyone who knows me well will tell you I have waxed lyrical about this magical place ever since & that I can tell you, is a very long time!!! 40 years to be precise!!!

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I had read about Biba, in the many fashion magazines I coveted (I would drive Mr Murgatroyd our local newsagent crazy with my obscure fashion magazine  subscriptions he would endeavour to track down for me!) So I was on a personal mission to explore this Shangri La Ms Hulanicki had created. I was dropped off at the store while my boss’s went off to Vidal Sassoon

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My stomach knotted with excitement, I entered!   In front of the windows was a low seating area where men lounged, bored & irritated waiting for their partners who had disappeared into the Abyss.

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Seating at the entrance, where many bored partners could wait for an eternity for their loved ones to return!

Inside the store was quite dark,with the decor being predominantly Black, but at the front of the store were the most spectacular mirrored counters, displaying cosmetics of every colour of the rainbow!!!! ….AND TESTERS……. out on display!!!! ……for you to use without a sales assistant hovering over you!!!!

 I had never seen such an amazing array…

…Lipsticks & nail polish of black, green, purple, blue????????

…..& plumes & plumes & plumes of thick lush ostrich feathers, fit to crown any Bluebelle Showgirl at the Lido de Paris!

More mirrored alters displaying tights of every conceivable hue…then
…shoes, bags, belts.

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Dresses & suits in beautiful sludgy aubergine, olive, saffrons & teal, all hung from bentwood hat stands!! Where were the clothes rails????

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……had I found my Utopia?

I spent the next hour or so discovering more of the wonders of this magical place, absorbing this Art-Deco/Bohemian fusion of decor. This cocktail of styles that would eventually influence the way that I would  display my surroundings in each home I would create from then on!

On returning back to Liverpool after my first visit I set about creating my own version of this wonderland I had discovered.

On a previous trip we had purchased the most amazing Adel Rootstein Mannequins for the windows I was on a roll….. I persuaded June my boss to take me to ‘Swainbanks Rialto’ a huge antique warehouse formerly a cinema, and we bought a large victorian chiffonier/dresser, I can remember it clearly to this day with its carved gothic style posts, I painted it black & decorated it with plumes of feathers and hung the jewellery from it. I painstakingly decorated black wooden box seats with tiny mirror tiles & topped them with red velvet cushions trimmed with tassels I had made myself all finished off with the obligatory fake palm plants……

Wow how proud of that project was I!!!!!!

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Moi, in front of my treasured Biba poster c.1975

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From my own Collection Emma of London shoes , made for BIBA 1972

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Same design shoe as above these are on display at the V&A Museum

..Anyway all these years on I now have my own little trove of bohemian glamour, strongly influenced  by my BIBA memories!

MLLA June 2014

To celebrate those wonderful times spent in that ‘Wonderland’ I had a little event aptly named “BIBALALA”……We shared stories and memories and transported ourselves back to those early bohemian years in the 70’s with Velvet Underground & Mark Bolan, Babycham & Twiglets …& a good time was had by all!!!!!

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Me,(Sue Gannon-Kendrick) adding the finishing touches to my lovely BibaLaLa model. Elle Keogh.

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Photographer Mikey Gannon & Sue Morris rock the ‘Turban Look’ of the night!

Looking back at BIBA……………………..

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That iconic BIBA poster

TO SEE A SHORT VIDEO OF THE ACTUAL BIBA STORE IN 1970 PLEASE CONTINUE TO SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF PAGE! WELL WORTH A VIEWING!!!!!!!!

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Twiggy on the huge round leopard print bed in the ‘Mistress Room’

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              Every detail of design was carefully thought through (see the cash register above right)

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The grocery department!

The beautiful Art Deco structure of the old Derry & Toms building

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BIBA carrier bag

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Sorry this one is not for sale, but you can certainly have a close up look!!!

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And here sourced by Rubyfoot, is a wonderful short film of BIBA in 1970, wonderful to be transported back to that magical place…see what you think if you never actually got to visit BIBA!

4 comments on “BIBALALA

  1. Pingback: Mooshy’s Madness for Hats | Mooshy La La

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  3. Pingback: “What’s with all these ‘Vintage’ shops?” | Mooshy La La

  4. Pingback: ….from Mourning to Dancing…. |

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